Life On A String

  • Record Label: Nonesuch
  • Release Date: Aug 21, 2001

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. The haunting melodies and string arrangements enhance the CD's contemplative mood, bringing us into the artist's reverie about emotional pain and art's dependence on such painful experiences.
  2. Laurie Anderson is a singer-songwriter of crushing poignance - a minimalist painter of melancholy moods who addresses universal themes in the vernacular of the commonplace.
  3. Anderson's best work has always been simultaneously opaque and pointed, suggestive, and even topical, without being didactic. Those qualities apply again here.
  4. Magnet
    Life On A String also reveals the tedious aspects of Anderson's muse. [#51, p.82]
  5. Mojo
    The perfect album for cool, sequestered evenings in scary cities. [Sep 2001, p.102]
  6. Alternative Press
    If the wordplay occasionally misses the mark, the music (which includes calypso, funk, '40s jazz, and chamber pop) invariably carries the day. [Aug 2001, p.76]
  7. Entertainment Weekly
    Despite an occasional dip into buzzy techno waters, Life is more retread than reinvention. [Aug 24/31 2001, p.137]
  8. Blender
    Though the drones drift into Enya-like ambience on "Slip Away" more often, as on "Pieces and Parts" and the keening "Broken," Anderson dresses up her hard-won koans of personal wisdom just enough to make them alluring. [Aug/Sep 2001, p.120]
  9. Q Magazine
    Despite its spacious and minimal approach, the album is -- in typical Anderson style -- a demanding piece of work. [Sep 2001, p.106]
  10. The Wire
    Fans of Anderson's trademark spoken word phrasing, with pregnant pauses, raised eyebrows and question mark endings, won't be disappointed. [#211, p.52]
  11. She lets [the songs] drift off into the kind of embalmed chamber music respectability often synonymous with the Nonesuch label.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. MikeW
    Feb 23, 2007
    Best since Big Science, still strong remnants of the old style in there, with some good rich mature sounds.
  2. SteveP
    Nov 22, 2004
    Almost back to her best!
  3. Ron
    May 16, 2002
    chamber music and L.A., not ready, unexpected, fragile, looking for new ways